Well, I have about two weeks left at my site before I head back to the Lone Star state for school. I cannot believe how fast this summer went. I know I was saying that a month ago…but sheesh!
Some projects are winding down at the refuge as well. We started dove banding early in July and we have about two weeks left. I’m not sure the exact amount of birds we tagged, but I know it was more than ﬁfty. We ran into many problems: making the trap, setting the trap, capturing doves in the trap… At times it was a mess, but it was always exciting when we caught one.
Last week, I went to Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge to survey wood duck boxes around the refuge. The biologist there told us that it started in the 80’s when wood duck population was on the decline. Even though it was late in the summer, we managed to ﬁnd one box with seven black bellied duck chicks. Black bellies like to use the boxes as well. It was adorable! What wasn’t adorable was going on a levy that had banana spiders (golden silk orb-weavers) at least every other foot we stepped. Now, I love the outdoors, but I can’t stand spiders! Mosquitoes are annoying too, but I would choose mosquitoes over spiders any day!
This summer has been very rewarding on so many levels. I was able to experience so many new things; things that were challenging and very different. Since I wasn’t from a wildlife background, I had a lot to learn, and a lot to digest in most cases but I was able to push through and learn so much more about the environment I was in and the role I played in it.
It is a bittersweet end. I’m ready to go back to Texas, for the sake of seeing my friends and family. But, I am going to miss the wide open spaces of Louisiana, and the people, and the food! I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything. I was absolutely blessed to have been given this opportunity.
Through this, I can see myself working and continuing conservation work. Maybe it will be with the US Fish and Wildlife… who knows!